Advocacy wrap-up and a farewell message from Nicole

Advocacy wrap-up and a farewell message from Nicole

Advocacy wrap-up and a farewell message from Nicole 150 150 Gene Baines

As my term as Students’ Union President comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to say goodbye and reflect on the past year. Looking back, I am incredibly proud of what the 80th SU Elected Officials have accomplished together: from fighting against term break assignments and ensuring students’ academic rights are upheld, to lobbying on behalf of students to all three levels of government. Some of the most notable advocacy wins from the year include:

  • Student Mental Health: We are excited to announce a new SU Mental Health Bursary, funded to $700,000. Beginning in fall 2023, SU Quality Money will fund $1,000 bursaries for mental health therapy and services for UCalgary undergraduate students.
  • Price Tags: Over the years, students have wondered when price tags are coming to Stör. We are pleased to announce that by fall semester, Stör will have a new system of price tags in place.
  • UPass: SU leaders continue to meet with city councillors to work to provide a better transport option for students that is more equitable for all student needs. Summer UPass eligibility has also been expended to more undergraduate programs starting Summer 2023.
  • Preferred Names: The SU has been advocating to the university to make preferred name changes across university systems accessible and available for students. Students seeking name changes are now able to do so with one request to change their name on a variety of systems. All information regarding this process can be found here.
  • Get Out the Vote: The SU GOTV Campaign continues asking students to pledge to vote in the provincial election. Students can sign up here to pledge to vote and get reminders regarding voting information, the election, and voting locations. Students who pledge to vote will also be entered into a draw to win one of two $250 bookstore gift cards or one of five $100 Den gift cards.
  • Provincial Election Advocacy: The SU hosted Opposition Leader Rachel Notley who took questions from students about post-secondary issues. During her address, she committed to rolling back tuition to 22-23 levels, if elected. This means students will not have to pay the latest UCalgary tuition hike of 5.5%. Other announcements included additional mental health supports, no tuition increases above inflation, and to bring in a summer employment program for students. Many of these commitments are thanks to ongoing SU advocacy with political leaders of all stripes.
  • Board of Governors protest: The SU led a student protest against a fourth consecutive tuition increase in January. About 250 students joined and made their voices heard outside the boardroom, as students were not allowed in. This protest and our calls for inflation supports for students led to Premier Smith committing to financial supports for students the following day. The protest showed how strong students can be when we speak with one voice. Should the university again fail to consult with students on matters, like tuition, that affect them, they know that students will make their displeasure known.

To conclude, I would just like to say thank you to all of the students who voted in the SU General Election for once again putting your trust in me to represent you and lead you this year. I am incredibly honoured to be the first two-term female president in the 80-year history of the Students’ Union. It has been an honour working with you all and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together.
Congratulations on making it to the end of the term – we did it.

Nicole Schmidt
President, The Students’ Union